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City of Rochester

News Release - Mayor Thomas S. Richards and Police Chief James Sheppard Issue Final Report on Voice of the Citizen–Seeking Solutions to Violence

City of Rochester

News Release

(Wednesday, April 10, 2013) -- Mayor Thomas Richards and Police Chief James Sheppard today outlined steps the City will take as a result of input from four quadrant ‘Voice of the Citizen’ forums regarding “Seeking Solutions to Violence.” Because of residents’ input, the Rochester Police Department (RPD) will increase youth engagement – on and off duty; improve police presence on street corners where drug sales occur by walking beats; and provide an anonymous hotline for illegal house parties. The Department of Recreation and Youth Services (DRYS) will enhance youth employment and work readiness through such programs as the Summer of Opportunity; and increase use social media for awareness of house parties and other youth activities that may require intervention.

“We started this process last year, the input we received from our residents was invaluable and informative,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “We are using their participation to shape how we can better serve the people of our neighborhoods across all City departments. I am extremely grateful to all those who participated because they are helping to shape Rochester’s future.”

“It was an honor to have joined Mayor Richards in this effort,” said Police Chief James Sheppard. “The effort and residents’ contributions are helping the Rochester Police Department refine our strategic approaches to combating violence and our policy of policing in the spirit of service.”

Attendance was strong at the forums, with more than 400 individuals attending four sessions. Participation was active and engaging. The Mayor and Police Chief attended the full length of all the forums to ensure they could garner the maximum input. The full report (available online at: www.cityofrochester.gov/vocsafety) contains more detailed data collected on each topic. Below are the four primary topic areas the public was invited to discuss:

A.) Open Air Drug Sales and Gate Houses

B.) Bullying and Truancy

C.) Gangs, Guns and the Culture of Violence

D.) House Parties

City Departments reviewed the report and responded with steps they are implementing, intensifying or changing to address residents’ concerns. Below are the highlights:

A.) Open Air Drug Sales and Gate Houses

Rochester Police Department (RPD) will:

• Increase youth engagement – on duty and off duty;

• Provide more direct interaction with business owners - while on patrol and in community meetings;

• Improve police presence on street corners where drug sales occur – walking beats.

Department of Recreation and Youth Services (DRYS) will:

• Enhance youth employment and work readiness through such programs as the Summer of Opportunity; and

• Continue to establish a clean and safe environment through outreach efforts such as park stewardship and Rec on the Move Vans.

Department of Neighborhood and Business Development (NBD) will:

• Help establish new PAC-TAC teams;

• Continue aggressive vacant property inspection programs; and

• Provide an accelerated demolition program for vacant and blighted properties.


B.) Bullying and Truancy


The Mayor will work with the Rochester City School District (RCSD) and Superintendent Vargas in:

• Their ongoing efforts to address the problem of truancy using the philosophy that children cannot learn if they are not in school; and

• Their efforts to combat bullying and truancy through school and parental education.


RPD will:

• Improve collaboration between RPD and RCSD regarding truancy in such areas as the schedule of school programs and contact numbers for parents.


DRYS will:

• Continue to offer parenting classes and family-based special events; and

• Continue its practice of training staff to prevent bullying at Recreation Centers.


C.) Gangs, Guns and the Culture of Violence

RPD will:

• Introduce elementary age children to RPD officers; and

• Expand the outreach of the Police Activities League.

DRYS will:

• Have its Office of Employment Opportunities redevelop its Youth Training Academy; and

• Pathways to Peace will have increased focus on dispute resolution.


D.) House Parties

RPD will:

• Provide an anonymous hotline for house parties;

• Provide more RPD enforcement regarding house parties; and

• Follow up before and after an illegal house party.

DRYS will:

• Increase social media for awareness of house parties and other youth activities that may require intervention; and

• Increase after-school activities to serve a larger audience.

“I am pleased with the proactive response by our community members and our City Departments,” concluded Mayor Richards. “Our goal here is to help Rochester’s transformation from this grassroots effort – to make our city the best place to live, work and raise a family. Our work continues.”

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News Media: For further information please contact Gary Walker, Director of Communications at 428-7405.
 


SEE ALSO

Crime Prevention

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